Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
It didn’t take long for the Doctor and his crew to find a mystery AND get in trouble with the authorities. This is not the Doctor most of you out there knows, who immediately takes charge and everyone around him slowly falls into line, even if he might get in trouble later. (I don’t know if that’s true for the current Doctor, though from the few episodes I saw it’s not likely.) This isn’t even the one who stands up to blowhard jerks who clearly shouldn’t be in charge. Heck, some of the commanders the first Doctor meets are almost competent and have good reason not to immediately trust a strange old man and the average people he travels with.
Right now the Doctor and Barbara have been arrested, leaving a mystery behind for Ian and Susan. How will this all work out? Let’s see what chapter two tells us.
The chapter starts off by introducing us to a General Bamford and her young assistant Belcher. They may become important later but it does set up that there is one area that for whatever reason the enemy won’t bomb. They’ll happily blow up a church and send the people running but either Bamford’s a bitch or this war has really sucked the compassion out of her. I’m assuming they’ll matter in a later chapter but this is the last we see of them.
Meanwhile the story goes back and forth between our two teams, though they meet up in the end. The Doctor and Barbara are roughly handled by the police, and before you say something related to current events this is not the London you knew in 2006. And we do learn this is 2006. Of course the back cover already told us that. The two are interviewed not by a detective but by a Professor Kelly. During the course of a conversation he figures out their time travelers, but believe they are here as the result of a successful project. Given the book’s title and what we already know about Andrews we can guess what that project is but the specifics are not yet known. Kelly mistakes The Doctor for the man that called about dead Colonel Andrews and he plays it safe by letting him think it. However, Kelly is willing to introduce him to Colonel Andrews, the aforementioned dead guy.
Meanwhile Ian and Susan are following said dead guy around. Susan doesn’t want to get involved because they know how he dies. However, while Ian at some point is won over by her argument they still follow him because he’s the only clue to what’s going on and Ian also hopes that his status can help rescue the others. Ian ends up having to save Andrews from a vagrant, which the others learned either get put to work or put to death. That’s kind of harsh. I don’t think they did that in World War II. (Granted I wasn’t in England in World War II–or anywhere else since I just turned 47 yesterday.) Another clue to what’s going on is that Andrews says things have changed and he’s having trouble finding where to go. However, our trio end up at a location in the Isle Of Dogs, which is mentioned to be so clean among the war landscape that I’m betting it’s the same place Bamford and Bircher are hanging out in. And after a reunion with between Ian and Susan and the Doctor and Barbara they get to meet Colonel Andrews. All six of him.
This was a really good chapter. Again, Guerrier is able to write these characters in their proper voices. I can hear William Hartnell, Carol Ann Ford, William Russel, and Jacqueline Hill voicing their respective rolls. We get good descriptions of the other characters–Bamford, Bircher, Kelly, and Griffiths (one of the other lab coat guys who appears to work under Kelly). There’s also some mystery clearly involving time travel but the hows have yet to be explained. It encourages further reading, which we’ll do next time to see how many Andrews it takes to screw in a light bulb. Or something like that.